UK plans to strengthen cyber defences

The MoD is working with nine top defence companies and spending more than £650 million to shore up UK defences against cyber attacks.

According to the BBC, the partnership could mean more intelligence is shared about the latest cyber threats.

Currently, British defence companies face daily cyber-attacks, often from countries trying to steal sensitive information about new technology and weapons.

The new Defence Cyber Protection Partnership is a joint effort between the UK government and nine large defence companies.

According to the MoD it will establish higher standards of security for smaller companies in the supply chain.

The UK intelligence service GCHQ said Britain was seeing about 70 sophisticated cyber-espionage operations a month against government or industry networks – some 15 of which were against the defence industry.

GCHQ director Sir Iain Lobban said business secrets were being stolen on an “industrial scale” and in some cases foreign hackers had penetrated firms for up to two years.

The £650 million of new investment will be spent over the next four years, the BBC said.

In March, the government launched the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership to help businesses and government share information on cyber threats, including a secure web portal to allow information to be shared in real-time.

Etay Maor, fraud prevention manager at Trusteer, said progress in understanding cyber crime should be welcomed, but that in many cases people running botnets do not reside in the place where the crime takes place.

“Unfortunately, in most cases the people who get caught are the money mules that may not even be aware they are committing a crime and not the bot masters or ring leaders,” Maor said. “To apprehend these masterminds, law enforcement agencies will need to have cooperation with local agencies all around the world.” 

“This is not an easy task, and cyber-criminals know this,” Maor warned. “This is why they usually reside in a country where they will stay safe from most western governments.”